Day 39: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 39: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol… (Jon. 2:2).  This is Jonah in the belly of a great fish, deep in the Mediterranean Sea, calling out to the Lord. This is the amazing part: I cried, and you heard my voice.  Do you think the Lord has lost track of you?  Not a chance.

My prayer came to you, into your holy temple. (2:7).  His prayer, like yours, streaks into the inner sanctum of Heaven, into the very epicenter of the Universe.  It’s strange how we ignore this fact.  At any moment of our day, we can call on the greatest, kindest person in the entire Creation, and we hesitate, or forget, or think we can handle our situation.  Doubly troubling, is the Lord assures us he’s available.  What stops us?  Pride.

Jonah, the religious professional, a prophet who spoke on behalf of the Lord, was a thoroughly dedicated servant of the Lord, and acted like a knucklehead.  When the Lord had a huge project, (1:2) he called on one of his most qualified men, and Jonah refused.  Well, the Lord doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, so he changes the man, not the project.

We also noted that the Lord used a great fish (1:17) who was fully compliant, who humbly obeyed the call of the Lord on its life.  This was a means to capture Jonah’s attention. Jonah’s lesson was affirmed a little later: And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. (2:10). The fish complied with God’s call on its life, while ironically the ‘man of God,’ was notably rebellious!  Well, Jonah got ‘slimed,’ sitting in stinking vomit on the shore.  The Lord can be very pointed with his rebellious followers. Why do we need to relearn this in our own life?  Pride.

Will Jonah come to his senses? Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, (3:1).  God is persistent, and he’s got the resources of the entire Universe at his disposal.  So far with Jonah he’s used a mega storm, and a giant fish.  He’ll get your attention – believe me.  He’s very patient and will outlast you.

“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” (3:2).

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. (3:3).  Are there cheers and wild celebrations for Jonah’s choice of obeying the Word?  Nope.  Just him and the Lord, then he went on his trek: Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. (3:3).  It was a huge cosmopolitan center.  It was a place of commerce, of culture, of power, and Jonah was to invade enemy territory and preach the gospel.  People of influence, people of power, people charmed by the things of the ‘world,’ lived there.

What kind of sophisticated message is Jonah going to preach to the power elites of the world?  Nineveh is vast: Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey (3:4).  He will need some sort of theological treatise to let these pagans know about the goodness of God, with all sort of compelling illustrations, a fine sermon outline, with several intriguing, and compelling spiritual truths.  Right?

You can imagine the people of the city were intrigued by this man who had just been spit out on land by a huge fish.  He did not have a change of clothes, his luggage lost at sea.  His appearance must have been disheveled and unkempt, he’d been slimed with fish vomit.  Who would listen to a homeless guy, who looked like a bum?

And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (3:4).  A five second sermon!  The word ‘called’ means to cry out, to proclaim.  He was not mumbling, nor speaking in whispers – he was yelling out the message!  Well, if the Lord is telling you to do this, you might as well forget all predicates, and get the job over with.  Jonah is being obedient, but he isn’t changing his heart, pitying these sophisticated, cultured people!  He was still being a pill.  Begrudging obedience to be sure, but the Lord will use it.  Jonah does not care what his audience of Ninevites think.  He’s just blasting them with a fire and brimstone, five second challenge.  He doesn’t give an altar call, come to the front and publicly proclaim your vows in front of people.  Jonah bellows then is finished.

And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. (3:5).  This is as great a miracle as the storm in 1:4, then its stunning calm 1:15!  In addition to a huge fish swallowing him and not digesting him!  This is crazy-making stuff.  God is in the awesome miracle mode when he wants to make an immediate impression. In spite of Jonah’s lousy sermon, people came to faith, in the living Lord!  You can’t make this up!

Read Jonah 3:6-9 and read about the frank repentance that happens to the Ninevites.  They sincerely come to faith in Jehovah, making all kinds of external confirmations that their new faith was not a fluke, but genuine and sincere.  They repent with sackcloth, they pray, they fast, they change immoral behavior out of an earnest and heartfelt wish to serve the living God – Jehovah, who: God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” (3:9).  They believe that God is compassionate, and willing to forgive their ‘evil way’ (3:8).  He’s not a big, mean nasty ogre.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (3:10).  The sovereign of the Universe relented, or comforted himself, with a different approach.  The Lord was pleased to give these people mercy.  He was delighted to let them experience redemption.

After all, he has done this for you and me.  We are not any different than the Ninevites. God delights to welcome us into his kingdom, happy that we desire to be in his family.  He wants us to be one with him, forever!

God exhibits strength under control.  His patience with Jonah and the Ninevites gives us the assurance that he is safe, though he might challenge us.  Even in the adversities he is training us for greater glory, for a better good, for a glorious future.  He is on our side, though we often try to resist him.  He is good, though we don’t understand his ways.  He is generous, even offering us kindness, even when we’ve earned retribution.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Give me the courage to proclaim your goodness to a lost world.  Don’t let my pride hinder your merciful plan be released to needy people.  If you call me, let me be audacious, resolving to follow your every direction with fervency.  Then give me the resources to go to others, who are languishing.  Give me opportunity to share your Word, so others can receive hope.  Give me disciples who will partner with me, with a desire to reach the lost.  Give me favor with people so opportunities open for your Word to spread. Give me more and more hope, more and more vision, more and more blessing, so you receive more and more glory.

Let me not forget my family, trying to follow a big vision.  Let my vision be my family first, then let your vision be theirs also.  Let your influence flow into the hearts of my spouse, my children, and others, so we are a legion that moves together to accomplish the ministry you have charted for us.  Let me lead with humility.  Let me follow your vision, your call, your will, so other can witness the special blessings that come with obedience to your leading.  Let our obedience be seen, so observers can believe, that they too can make much of you, charting a similar vision for your glory.  May our obedience transform others.  We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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